GitHub warns of bans for users still distributing YouTube-DL
GitHub, the open-source repository has issued a warning to users who are still redistributing the recently outlawed YouTube-DL app. After being taken down under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DCMA) last month, the court ordered all instances of it to be taken down, which led to a so-called “Streisand Effect” — a term given to attempts to ban something, triggering even wider-spread sharing as a form of protest.
In a notice left on the YouTube-DL repository (via TorrentFreak), users were warned: “If you are looking to file or dispute a takedown notice by posting to this repository, please STOP because we do not accept Pull Requests or other contributions to this repository”, adding: “Please note that re-posting the exact same content that was the subject of a takedown notice without following the proper process is a violation of GitHub’s Policy and Terms of Service. If you commit or post content to this repository that violates our Terms of Service, we will delete that content and may suspend access to your account as well.”
GitHub has something of a fight on its hands. It was estimated at the time of the ban that YouTube-DL was one of the most popular repositories on the entire platform, with 72,000 stars and 1.43k dependent repositories. Reaction to the decision to remove Youtube-DL on copyright grounds was met with protests, with many arguing that there were plenty of legitimate use cases for the software which didn’t justify the ban.
At first, Microsoft-owned GitHub was keen to work with its users, with an attitude of helping them fix their orphaned code, whilst keeping a “Don’t shoot the messenger” attitude.
However, as it has become clear that the quest to subvert the ruling, GitHub has been left with no choice but to move from ally to enforcer. It won’t have been their first choice, but rather a necessity to avoid being branded enablers to illegal activity — something which could prove more damaging in the long-term than upsetting its user base.